Alaska News

New Pavlof Volcano rumblings could be prelude to eruption

An increase in seismic activity at Pavlof Volcano, which erupted spectacularly in March, has prompted Alaska Volcano Observatory staff to step up monitoring of the Alaska Peninsula volcano.

In a brief update Friday, raising Pavlof's alert level to watch and its aviation color code to orange, staff at the observatory said they haven't been able to visually confirm any eruption from satellite data or camera images, due to clouds obscuring the volcano.

"At about 10:35 a.m. (Alaska time) seismic activity at Pavlof Volcano increased to levels typically associated with low-level eruptive activity and it is possible that an eruption of Pavlof Volcano may be in progress," AVO staff wrote.

AVO spokesman Dave Schneider said that the seismic activity that led to Friday's notice for Pavlof has been increasing in intensity, although there's still no confirmation that "anything is coming out of the volcano."

"As it was starting to trend up over the last several hours, we thought it prudent to increase our alert level," Schneider said. "This is what the beginning of an eruption looks like."

In March, Pavlof sent up a 37,000-foot ash cloud that covered nearby Nelson Lagoon, also affecting aviation across Interior Alaska as the cloud was carried east on prevailing winds.

Last week, Cleveland Volcano in the eastern Aleutian Islands also saw increased activity levels after what AVO called an explosion at that site.